Seeking patent attorney representation
If you intend to file a patent application, or have recently filed one, you may wish to retain the services of a patent attorney.
A patent attorney can help you with the details of your patent application. You can also draw on their expertise to maximise the quality of your application, manage your IP portfolio, and monitor possible infringements.
Patent attorneys have an obligation to follow a range of professional standards, including confidentiality. You will need to prepare and share information with your patent attorney in order to maximise their ability to work on your behalf.
Only a registered patent attorney in New Zealand – or a registered New Zealand patent attorney firm – may act on behalf of someone else for gain (such as payment) to:
- apply for and obtain a patent in New Zealand
- prepare and amend patent specifications
- dispense advice on the validity of patents and their infringement.
It is an offence for anyone else to provide these patent services, or hold themselves out as either a patent attorney or an agent for obtaining patents. This restriction applies equally in Australia.
Finding a patent attorney via the trans-Tasman IP attorneys register
The trans-Tasman IP attorneys register records the names of all attorneys licensed to provide patents advice in New Zealand and Australia. You can consult this register if you require the services of a patent attorney, or if you want to verify the qualifications of one.
- Find an attorney via the trans-Tasman IP attorneys register — Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board
The trans-Tasman IP attorneys register stems from an arrangement for a joint registration regime between New Zealand and Australia, which was implemented in New Zealand in 2017. This register is administered by the Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board (TTIPAB).
- Joint trans-Tasman registration regime
- Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board — Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board
Making a complaint against a registered trans-Tasman IP attorney
All registered patent attorneys and incorporated patent attorney firms are subject to a professional code of conduct setting out minimum standards of ethical and professional behaviour. Any breaches of this code, and/or instances of professional misconduct or unsatisfactory professional conduct are subject to a formal complaints and disciplinary process.
The TTIPAB manages the investigation and hearing of complaints against registered IP attorneys. If appropriate, the TTIPAB may commence disciplinary proceedings against the attorney or firm before the Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Disciplinary Tribunal.
You may also wish to consider contacting the New Zealand Law Society in relation to complaints regarding New Zealand lawyers.
Complaints regarding New Zealand Lawyers — New Zealand Law Society
Applying to become a registered trans-Tasman IP attorney
Any individual or incorporated patent attorney firm that intends to practice as a patent attorney in New Zealand must be registered under the joint trans-Tasman registration regime. This will add an entry for that individual or firm to the trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Register.
The eligibility requirements for registration are determined by the TTIPAB. These include academic qualifications, knowledge requirements, and work experience.
If you are a registered attorney, you must renew your registration annually, and ensure that your details in the register are kept up to date.